(1919 - 2008)
|Harold was born to a poor hard working family near Weymouth, Nova Scotia. He went to live and work with his uncle at a very early age. As a teenager he worked at the Goodwin Hotel, where he taught himself to read. He joined the army and served overseas. Cromwell began sketching while in a military hospital recuperating from wounds received during the Second World War. He worked various jobs and drew in his spare time before retiring when he had more time for drawing.
He tried working with oils and water colours, but soon made the switch to what he is most famous for today, folk art done with pencil and pen and ink. Harold's work was done on any available scrap paper and sometimes even paper plates. A few pieces were done on wooden plates.
Most of his drawings are about life in Weymouth and Weymouth Falls as he remembers it. "It all just comes out of my head". Considered one of the giants of Nova Scotia folk art, Cromwell captured scenes on paper for over six decades which documented the social and historical aspects of his home in rural Nova Scotia.
For many years he sold his work at Upper Clement Park and the Annapolis Farmers Market. He also attended the Nova Scotia Folk Art Festival and is the only black Nova Scotia folk artist represented in the collection of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
Ref: Nova Scotia Folk Art Festival Society, A Joyous Vision - Contemporary Folk Art in Nova Scotia (1995).
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